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07th July, 2016.
Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade

Accra Weizo 2016: Governor Ayade Bags West African Tourism Man of the Year

The Executive Governor of Cross River State in Nigeria, Professor Ben Ayade has won the Tourism Man of the Year Award for Nigeria and West Africa.

It was a four man race between him, the minister of tourism for Ghana, the minister of tourism for The Gambia and Obinna Ekezie, the Managing Director of Wakanow. This was based on the results released on by the Award committee.

The Balafon Award committee made up of Travel Professionals and Journalists from Nigeria and Ghana approved the results for the best performers in Travel and Tourism West Africa. The committee had earlier met and short-listed nominees for the different award categories.

The short-listed Nominees were then exposed to public votes on Atqnews website and Facebook page. The online voting was done using Survey monkey software.

After a robust debate while analysing the results the Award committee approved the results. Winners will be presented with Award Certificates at Accra Weizo event in Ghana on the 15th of July.

From the analysis, it was obvious that most of the voters were from Nigeria and Ghana with few other voters from other parts of Africa.

The Governor in his first year in Office not only sustained the tradition of Carnival Calabar but raised the bar for the event.

His tourism achievements in 12 months in office include the opening of the first monorail in sub-Sahara Africa, hosting the biggest ever street carnival in Africa last year, setting up Callywood the New movie genre that is rated to be bigger and better than Nollywood.

He is also creating new cities in the state. Cross River State prides itself as having created the first authentic international carnival in Africa with Participation from Africa and other parts of the World.

He introduced the first biker's parade, the first green carnival and delivered the largest crowd ever seen since carnival began in 2014. These achievements helped Prof. Ben Ayade to clinch the double Award in his first Year.

The Balafon award was set up to recognize individuals who have excelled in Tourism and Travel and who also have contributed to the growth of Tourism and Travels in the region. Balafon Awards from this year, now becomes part of Accra Weizo event.

The 2016 committee includes members from Ghana; Nancy Sam President of Tour operators Union of Ghana, Ahmed Naaman, Vice President, GHATOF, Abeku Santana super Blogger and Ghana Tourism Ambassador, Dominic Andoh of BF&T, Kojo Bentu Williams Tourism PR wiz kid, Bridget Markwe, leading tour Operator and Andrew Boafo Ghana's most experienced hotel marketer.

Other members from Nigeria are Nkereuwem Onung, President of NATOP, Ime Udo, Obinna Emelike, Franklin Ihejirika, Demola Ojo, Okorie Uguru, Omololu Olumuyiwa and Wale Olapade.

Accra Weizo is hosted by La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, supported by Ethiopian Airlines, Accra city hotel and Kempinski Gold city Hotel, Accra.

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